Jack confronts Will about the bailiff and the murder attempt. Will denies making the bailiff do anything and tries to explain the Ripper’s motivation to Jack. Jack is far from convinced, especially when Will mentions that Hannibal is eating his victims. Alana helps Hannibal prepare a meal and they discuss his traumatic experience from the previous episode.
The FBI team finds another Ripper victim – this one missing almost all organs. The organs this time are replaced by flowers and Jack suspects, from the poisonous nature of the flowers used, that the victim was killed as judgement. Hannibal confides to Jack that he’s lost trust in Will and gets Jack to admit the same. Hannibal mentions a dinner party and the connection between the newest victim and a dinner party piques Jack’s curiosity. Will ruefully tells Abel Gideon that he shouldn’t have protected Hannibal and that he (Abel) is next on Hannibal’s list. Both Abel and Will know that Chilton is listening so Will warns Chilton too, indirectly. Abel decides to give his ‘testimony’ there and then and describes Hannibal’s dining room perfectly, down to the minute details and Chilton realizes that Hannibal is indeed the Ripper. Chilton passes this recording to Jack, who admits that it is certainly worth consideration.
Hannibal confronts Will about his murder attempt. Will does not admit it outright, but Hannibal makes a few implied threats that seem to force Will to back down. Jack meets Gideon to discuss the information he provided, but he does not admit to any of it, saying instead that Chilton fed him the information instead and blaming the bailiff’s murder attempt on Chilton’s agenda too. He later deliberately offends some guards and they severely injure him.
At Hannibal’s dinner party, Jack takes some food away for testing, an action that makes Hannibal suspicious about what Jack knows and Chilton’s role in it. Alana and Jack end up sleeping with each other later that night, though Jack has drugged Alana so that she falls into a deep sleep. He visits Gideon at the hospital, disguised as a surgeon. Hannibal kills the guard, suspending him above the bed with fish hooks like the ones Will used to make before disembowelling him. Alana is Hannibal’s alibi when Jack asks where Hannibal was the night before.
Hannibal later serves Gideon his own leg. Gideon is on an IV drip having lost his leg but is appreciate of the culinary efforts. The human remains used in the lures leads Jack to conclude that there never was a Copycat and that the Ripper is now taking credit for all the murders that were originally his. A forensic match of the bark found on the newest victim leads Jack to an abandoned warehouse – where he finds a one-armed Miriam Lass.
That…I did not see coming. So, Clarice Sterling…er, Miriam Lass is alive, huh? This was such an amazing episode I don’t even really know where to begin. I think one of my favourite parts of the opening scene was the reference to The Silence of the Lambs. The original movie’s dialogue goes like this:
Hannibal Lecter: No. That is incidental. What is the first and principal thing he does? What needs does he serve by killing?
And in the beginning of this episode, Will repeats this to Jack almost verbatim:
Will: What does he do? What is the first and principal thing he does? What need does he serve by killing?
I love the contrast here – Will in the cell, playing the role of Hannibal as he tries to convince Jack that Hannibal is in fact the one Jack is after. There’s a beautiful symmetry to it that makes the scene very powerful. It’s also a great demonstration of the ‘new’ Will Graham. This new Will isn’t messing around anymore; we say in the previous episode that he is willing to go the distance to do what has to be done to see Hannibal answer from his sins. It’s like Will has decided to finally acknowledge the potential of his empathy ‘disorder’ and use his analytical super-powers to their fullest. Will’s not evil though – the disturbing visions he has of himself mounted on antlers are beginning to look suspiciously like Will growing horns, symbolizing his transition from reactive victim to proactive hunter (or fisher?).
And just like that, it suddenly feels like Hannibal is on the backfoot. There have been a bunch of blows to him – the loss of Dr. Du Maurier, Jack beginning to see Will’s side a little more, Chilton doing the same and even Abel Gideon beginning to act slightly cooperative. Of course, in Gideon’s case, it’s too little too late and I’m still not sure I understand the character’s actions fully, but we’ll get to that in a minute. For what it’s worth, I think Hannibal suddenly seems alive again – in the first few episodes of the season, he was always lurking in the background, always a potential threat but never seeming like an active one. Now, though, he’s decided he’s going to answer Will’s challenge head on. The first move he makes is get Alana firmly on his side – she is almost a hostage to him now and Will is powerless to move her out of Hannibal’s influence even if he weren’t locked up. Hannibal’s confrontation with Will regarding the bailiff was an excellent scene as well with the veiled threats just piling up. It seems that for the moment at least, Hannibal has Will well in check as he holds a metaphorical (for now) knife at her throat. Using her as an alibi was just brilliant though I wonder if he well-served in killing Gideon the very night that Jack began to act on Will’s Hannibal the Cannibal theory.
Speaking of Gideon, I wonder what the character’s motivations for not telling all to Jack are – is he still trying to get back at Chilton for the psychic driving? I would think that taking the man’s organs was enough to make them even for that but then again I don’t have much insight into the mind of a sociopath. It is a shame because with Gideon dead (and I’m going to assume that he is). That scene was great and somewhat amusing at the same time (in a very dark kind of way, of course). This sums it up:
Abel: You intend me to be my own last supper.
Abel: How does one politely refuse a dish in circumstances such as these?
Hannibal: One doesn’t. The tragedy is not to die Abel, but to be wasted.
Abel: My compliments to the chef.
The way he looks right into Abel’s eyes will he eats him is nothing short of terrifying.
I did originally intend to discuss the importance of Miriam Lass and how her presence changes everything, but right now I think it might make more sense to hold off on that till the next episode since we’ll see just what she knows (since there’s no way that she’s going to be able to accuse Hannibal with seven full episodes left in the season).